I am not super in love with my body right now. And I feel like a bad woman – and definitely a bad feminist – because of it.
Up until the end of June, I was working. I wasn’t doing a great job at work, but I was doing the best I could considering I was exhausted, hormonal, and sick. I was so sick, in fact, that I didn’t care if I couldn’t do the things I normally could do. I just wanted to lie on the couch and get through the first trimester. It didn’t bother me so much that I wasn’t able to go out with friends or grade papers or read a book at night; I was sick and needed to rest. It was no different than having the flu.
Now, I feel quite a bit better. Even though the beginning of my second trimester wasn’t great, my energy has greatly improved and I’m not feeling sick all the time anymore. Oh, and I can eat again. (BOY, can I eat again! My hunger is seemingly never satisfied. Tim is training for his third marathon and I think I still eat more than him.)
But, by no means do I feel normal. I’m still sick often, and there are still foods I absolutely cannot eat. (Umm… chicken? That healthy, complete source of lean protein? Yea, can’t eat it.) I have heartburn like you would not believe, and after our babymoon to San Francisco, I got super sick with a cough that just Would. Not. Die. (and I rarely get sick, so you know this pregnancy just zapped my immune system) and that lovely cough caused me to throw my back out, which has been super painful.
So, even though I feel better, I’m not feeling great and I still can’t do much. My body doesn’t want to do the things it used to be able to do, even though I feel better so I want it to do those things. Mentally, I want to go out to see friends. I want to take a walk with the dogs. I want to cook amazing, healthy dinners. I want to go to yoga or Zumba class every day.
Physically, I just can’t.
A lot of people during pregnancy – fitness instructors, doctors, midwives, birth class instructors, husbands, the internet – tell you you need to listen to your body during pregnancy. If you feel like you can’t do something, don’t. The problem is, I feel like I can because I have great energy on my way there, but then when I get there, I am already exhausted just by the travel and I know two hours of hanging out with friends or an hour of yoga will cash me out for the rest of the day.
So, my tendency has been to just sit around the house. I don’t have work to go to, so what else am I going to do?
I’m not great at relaxing. I’m Type A to the core, so sitting still is rarely an option for me. Therefore, even though I’m trying to listen to my body and take some time off when I need to, when I do, I’m pretty depressed about it.
A lot of the time, I feel like my body has betrayed me.
Everyone tells you your priorities will change when you get pregnant. I hate hearing that, because it’s just not helpful. It falls along the lines of, “Do this stuff now because you won’t be able to do anything once you have a baby!” Which, for the record, I do not believe is true. Sure, there’s a period of downtime during which you cannot just up and leave the house because you have this little person who needs you, but that doesn’t mean your priorities change; the way you go about them has to change. You have to line up a babysitter, for example, or make sure the kid’s father is home to hang out with her while you are out. But it isn’t impossible.
But with pregnancy, everything changes because it has to. You can’t go traipsing around the city or to wine tastings or do a two-hour hot yoga class. Not only are some of those things just unsafe for your fetus, you literally, physically cannot do them, even though you used to be able to do them just fine.
Don’t get me wrong: Our baby is very much wanted. I feel bad complaining about pregnancy when I know there are a lot of people out there who struggle with getting pregnant. But, just because pregnancy is a miracle of sorts and I’m fortunate to have had a mostly complication-free experience doesn’t make this mental-physical disconnect suck any less.
For now, the best I can do is keep myself busy with crafting and some at-home work, force myself to go work out for a little while, and make sure I get adequate sleep at night and, in the meantime, hope that all of my friends whom I’ve blown off in the past few weeks understand that this isn’t permanent. I haven’t really changed. I’m just doing the best I can not to lose my mind in this body that just can’t seem to catch up.
Does anyone have any advice for me on how to deal with this mental-physical disconnect? No one really talks about wanting to do things but feeling unable, so I’m all ears. What worked for you? What can I try that might help?
Featured image credit: flequi